Are we reaching a point of no return in the computer components market? Will prices ever come down?
A series of unfortunate events worldwide has greatly affected the electronics industry. Especially hard hit is the PC world. Components as basic as a PC case went from costing $50-ish to over $100.
But that’s not all. Basic components such as a processor, RAM memory, or even motherboards, have gone up considerably in price in the last few years. They have become unaffordable for many users. But is this price increase correct? Is it right to be charged more than $1500 for a component? Will we ever see that price drop again? Is Moore’s Law dead?
It takes at least $1000 for a “functional” PC
Six years ago, getting a PC didn’t mean you had to spend your entire paycheck on it. You could do $300-$350 builds that were functional. The leap in components at that time allowed consumers to get a PC that could handle workloads and play games for very little money.
The arrival of the AMD Ryzen, along with the arrival of the NVIDIA 1000 series, gave many gamers the opportunity to get a powerful but affordable PC. But, as the years went by, the minimum amount needed to have a decent and functional PC has been going up little by little until reaching $1000.
The price increase was largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and crypto bros. But, in the last few years, companies have jumped on the bandwagon, slowly raising component prices. Intel, Asus, MSI, and more have raised their minimum prices with the perfect excuse that the implemented technology is much more expensive to make. We’ve seen this same opportunism across other industries too.
As a result, if you want the best processor, the best motherboard, and the best RAM, you have to invest weeks or even months of your salary if you earn minimum wage. Even so, it has created an expectation that the prices of both graphics cards and other components will go down in price. But, NVIDIA in the last presentation of its new series of graphics cards, has confirmed that this idea or dream that many users have will not come true.
Nearly $2000 graphics cards!
With the changes in the Ethereum network, many graphics cards are no longer used for mining cryptocurrencies. This has created a great expectation among users that graphics cards would come down in price. After all, NVIDIA itself said that the demand from crypto bros for common graphics cards, such as those for mining, was so high that they had to raise prices to be able to get the necessary materials.
Because of this, and much more information revealed by different media, it was expected that the price of this new generation would drop considerably. But, from NVIDIA’s side, this will no longer be the case. The new RTX 40 series has presented an increase of at least 35% compared to the previous generation – and a 60% increase to the RTX 10 series.
A clear example of this is the GeForce RTX 3080 compared to the GeForce RTX 4080. The 3080 was released for an MSRP of $699, but the 4080 has been announced for an MSRP of $1199. It’s an abysmal price increase that, despite the technological leap, has raised negative opinions from users. To add fuel to the fire, NVIDIA’s CEO, speaking after the unveiling of the RTX 40 series, commented that the price drop “is a thing of the past.”
Jensen Huang commented, “the ability to give double the performance at the same cost or give the same performance at half the cost every year and a half, is over. It came to an end and the idea that a chip will come down in price over time, unfortunately, is a thing of the past.” It’s something that was confirmed in a big way with the announcement of the RTX 4090. Its price is almost $2000.
What will happen to the future of PC technology?
Despite NVIDIA’s statements, several companies are looking to make that change. One example of this is Intel. They have started to offer different variations of their core line of processors so that different consumers can adapt to different price points. But, the biggest difference comes with their new line of graphics: Intel Arc.
The new Intel Arc A770 model, compared to NVidia’s RTX 3060, will be released in October for $329. That’s a $200 reduction from the current price of the RTX 3060. And just like Intel, many other companies are introducing “economical” alternatives to their products, although the difference in many of them is not considerable enough to highlight them.
So what does this mean? What will happen to the future of PC technology? Will prices come down, or will we have to get used to paying more?
As much as we would like to give you an answer, the real answer lies with the companies themselves. They are the ones who will decide how they will price their products in the years to come. But, what we can confirm is that, what was considered low-end, by price, is moving to high-end.
And this is something that we will continue to see more and more. My recommendation is that, if you were thinking of getting components now, wait for certain discount dates (like Black Friday or Cyber Monday). Because, for the rest of the year, all components will continue to go up in the short term.